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Suave manufacturer is sued after keratin straightening treatment made users' hair 'melt and fall out in clumps'

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By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 11:54 EST, 18 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:54 EST, 18 October 2013

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Unilever, is facing a lawsuit by women who claim its Suave Keratin Infusion Kit melted their hair and made it fall out.

Lead plaintiffs Josephine Wells and Catherine Reny have sued Unilever, which manufactures Suave, claiming that it used ‘deceptive advertising and failed to warn consumers though it knew of the risk of hair loss and scalp burns before the product was introduced,’ reports Courthouse News Service.

According to court documents, the Suave product, which was introduced in late 2011 only to be discontinued in May 2012, contained well-known depilatory ingredients, as well as substances that emit formaldehyde.

Suave's Keratin Infusion Kit

Facing action: Suave's Keratin Infusion Kit (above) is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by two of its former users

‘The active ingredient in the treatment, thioglycolic acid, including its salts and esters, is the same active ingredient that is used in hair depilatories and some hair perming solutions,’ the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit says that upon using the product properly, Wells claims she ‘noticed her hair braking at the crown and she experienced significant hair loss at the crown and on the sides of her head.’

She has since cut ten inches of her hair off and ‘has spent thousands of dollars on weaves, hair extensions, and other treatments to attempt to restore the damage to her hair.’

Wells has not used the product in two years, but still, ‘her hair is extremely thin and the bald spots caused by the treatment are still visible,’ says the suit.

Unilever did not respond to MailOnline’s repeated requests for comment.

A Facebook group called ‘Suave Keratin Infusion Kit Destroyed my Hair’ was established as a support group for victims to ruminate over their hair concerns, and discuss some short-term solutions. So far, 321 members have signed up, with countless more comments posted to the group’s wall.

Many women have posted before and after photos to illustrate damage they say was caused by Suave’s Keratin formula. 

Katie Stewart wrote: ‘I am so happy to find this. I have been wondering what was happing to my hair and now I know. Thank you for taking action!’

Suave Keratin Infusion Kit Destroyed My Hair

Seeking redemption: Users of the Suave Keratin Infusion Kit have created a Facebook group where many have posted photos of what the product has done to their hair, similar to the graphic featured above

Heather Peck Tabor wrote: ‘I have very thick, naturally curly hair. My cousin purchased this Suave Keratin product for me because of all the trouble I have had since a child. My curls disappeared, and my hair has been falling out in clumps! On the sides I have two spots that are a different color than the rest of my hair and stays gooey and matted looking. This morning I had had enough and took a comb to these bad areas, my hair just fell apart in little pieces!’

Others are referring fellow group members to various legal teams affiliated with the lawsuit.

Courthouse News Service also reports Unilever persuaded many consumers to sign releases ‘without advising them of their right to obtain legal counsel to review the form.’ The release required ‘consumers to indemnify Unilever for all losses,’ writes the site.

It also stipulated that consumers could not file claims for medical payments with Medicare and Medicaid.

Wells and Reny are seeking cancellation of the releases, class certification and damages for negligence, as well as gross negligence, breach of warranty, deceptive advertising, unjust enrichment, and violations of consumer law.

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